Hello people, how are you? It's cold out there, although still warm for this time of year - I still haven't had to get my winter coat out of the cupboard. 28 days to Christmas and I now have boxes full of my decorations filling a room in my house, delighting Wilfred the cat as he thinks the boxes are a new hidey hole for him, and the baubles are toys to play with.
Lockdown is due to end in a few days time and we are now in Tier 3 - this means Christmas is kinda cancelled as we're only allowed to meet in groups of six in parks and other public open spaces. The only places that will be open will be gyms (Oh joy!) and churches, neither of which I frequent.
Everything is as clear as mud! I had invited a young student up from Bristol to stay with us over her holidays in the festive period, but it isn't about to happen as both Bristol and Warwickshire are in Tier 3 and transport links are bound to be severely disrupted. The situation will be reviewed in two weeks time, but I'll bet that there won't be too much change.
Never mind, I still have my Christmas tree and a few lights and baubles to keep me occupied.
All of last week was spent sewing tiny beads, one at a time onto the latest necklace I started up a couple of weeks ago. I was inspired by a piece of Swarovski 'coral' that was given to me by friend and fellow beader, and a photograph I saw of a huge wave - I tried to recreate the wave in a painterly manner in the true tradition of 'painting with beads'. I decided the Swarovski crystal could be used to represent a piece of driftwood lying on a beach, and even found a couple of crystal starfish in my stash to add a bit of colour and interest.
I spent what was left of the week making up a few earrings from the components I have collected in a little tin box for my last appearance for 2020 at the Earrings Show on Facebook - do drop in if you have a minute between 830 pm on the 28th to 830 pm on the 29th of November. If you haven't the time, all the remaining earrings will be on the website once the show is over.
That's a wrap for this week, folks. Have a great week and take good care of yourselves. I'll catch you next week, same time, same place.
Hello folks, how are you faring this week? I hope you're all safe and well and are keeping your spirits up. Somehow, we have to stumble from one day to the next, masks and visors on, navigating a world full of minefields. My Christmas countdown calendar says 35 days to Christmas - I'm going to put my lights on and decorations up on the first of December, just to get out of this awful drabness that seems to have descended over us like a thick fog.
This week, I've busied myself making custom orders - I very rarely make these but I have a few on my books this month for a couple of regular customers who have designed their own pieces and entrusted the making of them to me. In between times I've started up a new embroidered necklace and thought I'd show you how far I've got with it today. It started with a visit from a friend who 'donated' a few beads from her stash to the Caprilicious effort. One of them was a Swarovski element that was so beautifully packaged it seemed almost a shame to undo the package. I thought the unpacking of it was worth a mention, and a look. The actual element is a beautiful shiny little crystal 'coral' branch, only an inch and a half long, in its own casing.
I said to myself 'This beautiful piece of crystal needs to be used - I cannot allow it to go into my bead stash and disappear, only to find it aeons later.' I'm always anxious that I might run out of design ideas or the ability to execute them - Caprilicious came into my life like a bolt from the blue, having never had any creative impulses before, and I'm consequently a bit worried that this may be just a wonderful dream.
My original thought was that it was a piece of 'coral' but then I decided it would be incorporated into a seascape as a piece of driftwood lying on a beach. I started with the sea - I wanted the look of a rough sea - with waves that would be worthy of a surfer, which could have spat a piece of driftwood onto the shore.
A lot of people would have cut out the spaces between the waves after the beads were added, but I worried that the threads might accidentally be snipped through - and that would have disastrous consequences that don't bear thinking about! The piece therefore had to be designed and a drawing made before I put it together - and that took me the best part of the week - I've been brave and included the drawing made on the back of a packet of Weetabix, and cut out so that I could hold it around my neck to check out the fit. Obviously, all the backing material and Ultrasuede will have to be cut out to fit and I've made life a bit more complicated for myself than I'd like, but I think the negative space will enhance the look of the piece - a low cut blouse allowing a flash of skin would be really effective - what do you think?
A couple of pairs of earrings for my final Earrings Show appearance came off my workspace while I was mulling over the design for my surfers beach necklace. One of them has some of my favourite diamante elements and the other, rustic ceramic spikes in black and gold, with stripy agate beads softened by twisted wire ruffles and coral.
That's me for this week, folks. Take good care of yourselves and stay safe - just a while longer until they bring us the all singing, all dancing vaccine that will save us all from the dreaded C word and give us our life back again - hopefully!
Have a great week, and I'll catch you again next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, how are you doing today? It's so nice of you to drop by and take tea with me. There have been a couple of pieces of good news since I last wrote. 1) with the results of the elections in the USA - even though a lot of us don't live there, what happens there affects us all in one way or another. And of course, 2) the long awaited vaccine - I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed on that one - that it works, and that it is safe.
However, just now it is Diwali and although I am on call this weekend, I shall light a couple of lamps in the porch. Once that is over, it's time for the Christmas decorations to go up and I've decided I'm going to drag every single one I own out of the shed, and then some. We're all in need of colour and brightness to raise us out of our humdrum lives and until there's something better, Christmas decorations will have to fill that hole.
As I've been yearning for Christmas and all the colour the season brings, the necklace that arrived out of my imagination this week was unsurprisingly christmassy. I searched out all the little ruby beads in my collection, added jade that was dyed a deep red and put a couple of necklaces together with green jade and onyx, and silver toned Vietnamese beads to add extra pizzazz. A couple of carabiner clasps and a diamante pendant - and voila! a Poinsettia necklace!
A bunch of beautiful connectors arrived and I started a little collection of earrings with them. I'm making my last appearance this year on the Earrings Show on the 29th of November and I will be crafting a couple of pairs of earrings each week, to make up a little collection for the show. They will also be available on the website. I often emphasise that the earrings are light and easy to wear and these are no different. I've also picked up a number of stud earring findings so that they do not drag the ear lobe - there's nothing worse than going to a party and finding that your ears are in pain at the end - it's bad enough that women are required to wear uncomfortable shoes to look stylish (and uncomfortable underwear - think Spanx and thongs and underwired bras) without having to suffer any more torture from their jewellery.
That's all I have time for this week folks. I was late posting this as I had to go in to work and I'm on till Monday morning - bring on the violins!!
Have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello people, how are you? In the UK we are back in lockdown and in the US of A the map is depressingly swathed with red, although it would appear that as I type, Joe Biden is emerging the victor. I'm not sure what's up with central USA that they can't see through their Potus, and I fear the bloodshed and craziness that must inevitably follow.
In the meantime, there are 50 days to Christmas and (drumroll) it is Caprilicious' 9th birthday today, the day I originally registered the website.
I was meant to be in London all week, but that got cancelled, which meant I had to go back to the day job. I do so look forward to my jaunts in London where I work hard all day and have the evenings to meet up with friends and have myself a load of fun. Unfortunately it was not to be and of course, Bonfire Night and Diwali stand cancelled as well. Now that I've given you my sob story, I can get on with the rest of the show!
I've been working up to my next opus but have a few details to work out yet in my head. In the meantime, I made another Bohoglam Neck stack. I love pillar box red, it's my favourite colour (except when it paints the map of the USA) and chunky coral is my favourite too. When I was growing up, my mother had a graduated string of pale orange coral beads and she would try to convince me to wear them to parties - I refused firmly. That's not my way of wearing coral, all prim and prissy, no siree. My beads would have to be vibrant, wild and have their own personality - and I think you'll see that in what I'm about to reveal.
I love the vibrant reds, the shiny haematite, the black enamelled rectangular clasp and of course the pièce de résistance is the beautiful lobster clasp, studded with micro pave set diamante'. The jasper and onyx flowers are lovely too. Of course there are three necklaces for the price of one, and they can be worn singly although the best effect is when they're worn together. In the open neckline of a shirt or over a jumper is how I see them - and they are certainly appropriate for the season that's about to hit us in 50 days time, Covid or no Covid.
That’s me for this week, folks. Have a fabulous time and I’ll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello, how's it going with you? Autumn has come to us and the poor leaves are all dropping off the trees, giving hubby something to do, sweeping them off our property, only to have them all back the next day. I say nothing, it keeps him busy and out of mischief. Everyone goes Ooh and Aah! about the autumnal colours, forgetting that they represent the death of the poor leaves. The clocks have gone back an hour and they had the bloomin' indecency to do it when I was on call, forcing me to work an extra hour that night, Pah!
If I sound fed up, it's probably because I am. But hey, we're all in it together, so I shall have to pull my socks up and get on with it, along with the rest of you. I want to have a little party, or get on a plane and fly off somewhere - but I guess you all want the same too. In the meantime, let's talk jewellery, my favourite subject.
This necklace is inspired by someone who is crazy about pearls - it's all pearls , pearls , pearls with her. A pack of pastel dyed baroque pearls arrived in the post and I decided I was going to go for broke and put the lot into one necklace. The clasps are very recent acquisitions. I've been looking at the necklace stacks that have become so a la mode on Instagram and Pinterest - I've been making necklace stacks for a while, so I thought I'd try a new style this time.
I made the first using four strings of pearls - it measures just over 60" long and can be wrapped around the neck as many times as required - it can go on tight, like a choker, or loosely. The clasp is worn to the front with a baroque pearl dangling from it. In addition, a second shorter necklace, with yet another rectangular clasp and baroque pearl is added to the original necklace, giving a tousled, tumbled look. Chains and charms can be added to this ensemble, depending on how bohemian the wearer is. I've just left it at two pieces, to be purchased and worn together, although a more timid wearer might wish to separate them. The second necklace is made of matte fluorite beads in a sea-foam green and dull grape, and it is shorter than the pearl necklace at only 16".
There's lashings of diamanté elements, all in micro pavé settings which I prefer, as the little stones are set so closely together that the metal hardly shows - they are set deep within the grooves of the metal to create a seamless look that resembles cobblestones. Micro-pavé settings are created with stones that are uniform in size and laid out in a honeycomb-like arrangement over the surface. They require a microscope to set as the diamanté are usually smaller than 1.4mm in diameter.
There are also bright enamelled harlequin colours in the clasp, baroque pearls from Bali that I picked up in Malaysia, and electroplated ceramic spacers to add bling and colour to the piece. In today's world of working from home and meetings on Zoom, all these elements matter and help to give the wearer the right kind of visibility.
Now I know I said that jewellery is my favourite subject - but I am an obstetrician and gynaecologist - I just realised that I've been a consultant for 21 years, not to mention the eight years of training in the UK and a few more in India - jeez, that makes me feel old! However, in my long practice as a ObGyn I've never had the occasion to say that it is my favourite subject, nor have I had a wish to talk about it. However, I recently came across a blog written by Jen Gunter, an ObGyn from Canada who writes about the subject that is so close to her heart - and writes so well, and so humorously, that I felt I should share it with you. Have fun - I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
Just a quick reminder, it is Caprilicious' 9th birthday on the 6th of November and I have a promotion running - a 25% discount till midnight on the 6th - use the code HappyNinth at the checkout.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a wonderful week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello lovely people, thanks for coming by. I hope you're all staying warm and out of trouble. I've had the week from hell at the day job, which has meant that I haven't had the energy to pick up a needle or a bead when I got home of an evening. All I seemed to want to do all week was to go to bed early. We're playing catch up, seeing all the people who have waited patiently through the first half of this year and perhaps I've become unaccustomed to what suddenly feels like very hard work.
It is Caprilicious' 9th birthday in a couple of weeks time and I thought I'd take this opportunity to celebrate with you from this week onwards. I have a code for a 25% (yes, gasp! 25%) discount across the board on the website - let's all have a great time! I have loads of new earrings on the website and you will have plenty to choose from, you might be able to do quite a lot of your Christmas shopping here, remembering that I offer free postage in the UK once your purchases mount up to the £100 mark, and I'm happy to box up your jewellery and send it out to your friends all wrapped up with a card from you thrown in. I've always offered a layaway to people who love my jewellery, but since the pandemic have extended it to everyone - every little helps, doesn't it? We shant be beaten by a little thing like a pandemic! Let me know if you wish to avail of this facility and I'll sort it out for you.
The birthday code is HappyNinth and it lasts for two weeks from the moment this blog is posted, and it is available to you until the 6th of November, Caprilicious' birthday. Happy Browsing!
So let me leave you with pictures of my very first Caprilicious Woman - her name is Meg and she is a beautiful, bright young thing, whom I've know almost since she was born. Her mother and I were at school together, and then medical school, and we were junior doctors in the UK in the early nineties. Here's a picture of us all dressed up to go out somewhere with Meg as a little girl.
And then she grew up! I've told this story before, but her mother commissioned me to make a couple of necklaces for Meg. There was a Tom Binnsesque punk rocker necklace and another, more grown up piece with corals, jade and Bali silver sea creatures - I'm not sure what happened to the first one, but I'm proud to say that the second one still exists- I've seen it worn fairly recently!
Meg loves showy jewellery and carries the larger pieces off with ease. I've given her some of my experimental pieces over the years and she's worn them with a sense of fun.
That's me for now, folks. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello people, how's it going with you? It is madness and mayhem everywhere, and now I can no longer remember times pre Covid - I find myself getting indignant when people in sitcoms on the telly hug each other or go to parties without masks on. I have to remind myself that 1) it is just a sitcom or a movie, and 2) there was a time when we all did such things.
Ah well, maybe one day we'll go back to being relaxed again. All I can say is thank goodness for Caprilicious - I've stayed sane through this craziness because of it - and all the lovely Caprilicious ladies who send me pictures of themselves wearing stuff I have made for them. I cannot explain the feeling of satisfaction I get when I see pieces I made (and forgot) a few years ago - every bead, every stitch exists because I put it there. Cue :- a warm feeling in the pit of my tummy - a quadruple G & T feeling!
"In Flanders fields the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row." John McCrae, 1915.
In the poem, In Flanders Fields, the Lieutenant Colonel describes the poppies growing between the crosses marking the graves of fallen soldiers.
Anna Guerin, in conjunction with the Royal British Legion helped to set up a charity to support British veterans and their families, making the poppy a symbol of the war and selling paper poppies to support veterans. Anna's idea was for all World War 1 Allied countries to use artificial poppies as an emblem for remembering those who gave their lives during the World War 1, creating a method of raising funds to support the families of the fallen and the survivors. Now, the Remembrance Poppy encompasses all conflicts that have occurred since.
The red poppy according to the Royal British Legion “is a symbol of peace inclusive of all regardless of race, belief, origin, or sexual/gender identity… and is above partisan and political interpretation.”
However, an alternative view is that with the poppy’s specific ties to the military, it can be seen as a symbol that glamorises war rather than commemorating the dead.
There has been growing controversy over the Poppy Appeal in recent years, with some, including British Army veterans; arguing that the Appeal has become excessive, and is being used to drum up support for British military activities, while people who do not wear them are accused of having an absence of concern for the war dead – an unpatriotic act of treachery. There are also people who suggest that politicians have exploited the poppy to justify further wars, sending more young troops into unnecessary combat while they proudly display their bright red flowers. The Peace Pledge Union hands out white poppies. Black and Afro Caribbean lives lost in the war are commemorated by black poppies and Animal Aid distributed purple poppies in remembrance of the animal lives lost in war. So it would appear that everyone wants in on the act, even animals - and now, Caprilicious, although mine are more to do with the beauty of the flower than the First World War and Armistice Day.
I grew Oriental poppies in my garden, but unfortunately lost all my plants this year due to a sharp frost - as you can see from the colour I err on the side of the pacifist! I love the frilly crinoline flowers and the smudgy black centres. They come up every year in June, but once the season is gone, all that is left are a bunch of drab straggly leaves, unfortunately.
I found an extremely creative glassmaker from Russia who makes beautiful crimson poppies and I couldn't resist them. It just so happens that I got round to making the necklace at the beginning of the Poppy Season in the UK. Now that I've written about them, I guess it's only right to offer a portion of the proceeds to the Royal British Legion.
Tens of man hours and hundreds of little beads have gone into this necklace and I've detailed every step of its making in my blog post from a previous week.
I love the vibrance of this necklace and would happily wear it myself. It has now gone into a cupboard to join the rest of what I call my 'Lockdown Loot' - all the embroidered pieces I have made since the 23rd of March 2020. One day they will find new homes and loving owners. In the meantime, due to strict infection control, I have taken on a new persona - Tinky Winky the Telly Tubby! I don't think a necklace would be of any use to embellish this outfit.
That's me for now, folks. Have a lovely week, and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place. Until then
Hello everyone, how have you been this week? I was meant to have a lovely, de stressing week off from the daily grind and as I was getting ready to enjoy it, the weather got cold, rainy and awful; and bang! the boiler died. We have a couple of oil filled radiators stashed away in an outbuilding, so we dragged them into the house, but OmiGawd! do I hate being cold. I had to keep reminding the other half that doors need to be shut in order to keep the heat in - it's funny how men don't understand simple rules of physics and there almost wasn't going to be a blogpost this weekend as I barely escaped committing murder just to end up in warm custody - I'm sure it would have been warmer in jail than it was at our place.
It took 5 days to get an engineer out from Vaillant by which time I had just about managed to teach Mike the general principles of thermodynamics by alternately threatening and cajoling him into keeping the doors and windows shut. The cat, who usually has the run of the house however, was having a breakdown and sicking up onto the carpet with nervous anxiety from being unable to roam free!
I'd been planning a necklace with the beautiful poppy beads I got all the way from Taganrog, in Russia. Obviously the going has been slow, as I have had to defrost my fingers every evening so that I could hold the needle comfortably. The plus side to this (if there is one) is that even if I pierced myself with the needle I wouldn't have known it. Here are some progress photographs for you.
The very last flowers in my garden are out - I planted some Nerine bulbs three years ago, and it hasn't been a resounding success, I'm afraid. I put in a whole pack of a dozen bulbs and I've had three flowers this year, the rest of the bulbs are either dead or have been eaten by squirrels. I took pictures of one of the flowers every time I came into the house and captured it from the bulb stage to the full blown five trumpeted flower. They are meant to spread into the soil and give more flowers with each passing year - I'm still waiting for that miracle to occur.
These earrings were made just before the boiler died and they will go into the Earrings Show - do come and join me, I'll be there from 2030 on Saturday night (10th) until the same time on Sunday the 11th of October.
I love making this extremely light but showy design and I think it is very effective.
That's me for this week, folks. I saw this photograph of a wall mural on Facebook - there were no artist credits, nor was there a mention of where this house is. If any of you reading this know where it is, do write in. I think the artistry is simply superb. The best trompe l'oeil I've seen prior to this was in the comic district in Brussels, but this wall beats them hands down.
Have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello people, how's tricks? Storm Alex is with us in Warwickshire and it is raining cats and dogs out here. Thankfully I don't have to go anywhere, so it's an early duvet day for me today. The week has been busy and it is nice to finally have some respite. I have time off work next week and have a project planned for it, as there is nowhere to go and nothing to do other than chill out and play with beads.
I made a couple of pairs of earrings while I was planning next weeks project as Caprilicious and I will be on The Earrings Show on Facebook on Sunday the 11th of October. I am still enthralled by Biwa pearls and the diamante elements that my supplier has - everytime I think I've picked up one of everything, he puts some more on his website. Of course, I have to have one of everything - I just love the understated micro pave look, which gives a shimmer without being too much in your face. The second pair was sewn using little Czech seed beads around a stainless steel frame - black and silver is always fetching and of course, the earrings are large, but very, very light.
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
A clutch of little silver pendants arrived in the post from Jaipur - I've been to this shop which is a tiny place in the wholesalers district - a bit like an Indian version of Diagon Alley, and the owner has a front of house that you wouldn't be able to turn around in with ease. However, the silver he produces from the back of the shop once he knows what you're looking for is magical, and I've kept in touch with him over the years.
The pendant I used first is a Smokey Quartz, flanked by moonstones. I found a string of smokey quartz pebble beads in my stash, and to up the colour quotient, taking hints from the colours in the pendant, I added all the Peruvian blue opals I could find, as well as a string of opalite beads. Seed pearls and iolite balance the equation between the light blue and smokey brown to give a pleasing effect.
I went out to Leamington Spa and retrieved Woodland Fantasy from the Temperance Bar, where the display of art has now been taken down. The necklace is back on the website now.
I had a cotton mask made from a local contact for a friend/ Caprilicious lady - I took one look at it when it arrived from the seamstress and thought, 'I can't send this out, it's too ordinary and boring.' So I embellished it with little roses and daisies and put it in the post with a first class stamp - to my surprise it took over ten days to get to her in London - I had almost given up and was preparing to get another one in when she posted this picture on Facebook.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a good week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello good people, it's lovely to be back here with you again this week. I enjoy reaching out to the wider world, I've met so many lovely people through the blogosphere and Caprilicious already; and I look forward to more such encounters.
This week has been hard, with the news of a looming second wave of the dreaded virus, inefficient governments and no end in sight - as yet. And of course, it is the 'as yet' that keeps human nature going, we hope one day that there will be a breakthrough and things will get better. Until then, friends, we have to get on with it as best we can.
I've just been watching Dr Zhivago, again, after ages and ages. The triumph of love, with a beautiful tapestry of a love story sewn against the background of a country in great turmoil, with some of the most beautiful actors in the world, Dr Zhivago is a firm favourite of mine that oddly I haven't revisited in a long time. I just finished this week's necklace as I watched it and it turned out all romantic and fuzzy - it is called Lara. With pale green jade, diamante elements, prehnite teardrops from Jaipur, and baroque pearls, I think it is suitably romantic enough to be associated with the name.
To continue the romantic theme of the week, I made a couple of pairs of earrings with beautiful diamante components and baroque pearls - the pearls are dyed a rainbow grey - like an oil slick on water and are simply to die for. I am very fond of the contemporary sterling silver ear wires I used - they are very different and give the earrings a fun look.
There was also a pair that took two weeks to make in a stop start manner - I sewed seed beads and dyed jade beads around malachite and hung them on kidney ear wires.
The passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg last week was painful too. She was an inspiration to women everywhere and a voice for equality and women's rights in the USA. I know that we will miss her presence in the world, and I couldn't end this weeks blog post without giving her a mention. This Milagro was made by Lorena Angulo, a metal clay artist I admire - here's her Instagram link.
That's me for this now, folks. The working week has been hard at the salt mines and I will need all of the weekend to recover. Have a good week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.